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Invitation to a Historic Pilgrimage – Jerusalem Declaration’s 10th Anniversary – UPF’s Middle East Peace Initiative

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 3, 2013

Universal Peace Federation

An invitation to a Historic Pilgrimage marking the

10th Anniversary of the Jerusalem Declaration.

Dear Friend,

A diverse group from all over the world, who consider themselves friends of both Israel and Palestine, and who are deeply concerned about the ongoing search to bring lasting peace between the two, will meet in Jerusalem on May 14-19, 2013, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), launched by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who also founded the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).

MEPI was established in 2003 as a global movement to help bring lasting peace in the region. The search for interreligious harmony, especially between the three Abrahamic Faiths, has always been at the heart of this quest. Thus, MEPI participants, of whom there have been over 14,000 to date, tend to see themselves to some extent as interfaith pilgrims who rally in the Holy Land to further the cause of reconciliation between moderates on either side of the political, religious, ethnic and other divides that lie at the heart of the conflict there. Participants include religious leaders from all faiths, scholars, politicians, government officials, as well as people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

On April 24, 2013, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, International Vice Chair of UPF, announced that the 10th Anniversary of the Jerusalem Declaration Memorial Programme,

” provides the opportunity for each of our Ambassadors for Peace, WFWP prominent women, Clergy and FFWPU members from all generations to “experience” the vision of unity and reconciliation in Jerusalem. Together we will retrace the historic footsteps of Jesus, understand the heart and faith of Islam and gain deep understanding of the Jewish foundation upon which all Abrahamic faiths trace a common beginning in one God. We will remember Father Moon’s unchanging love for all faiths and his vision that the faith leaders, when united, have the key to ending the conflicts in the world.”

You are most warmly invited to participate in this historic 2013 pilgrimage. Those who plan to do so will be required to pay their own airfares and a registration fee of 700 Euros to cover a specially discounted package that has been arranged for UPF’s specific requirements and which will take in six days and five nights in the area (including lodging, meals, organized tours and conference fees – see the tentative schedule copied below). Please inform us immediately of your interest to participate by notifying your local UPF representative, who will contact us at the above email address. An online registration process is available at – “online form

We are looking forward to welcoming you to what promises to be a very meaningful 10th Anniversary event.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Brann

Secretary General UPF Europe

Tentative Schedule May 14-19, 2013

Tuesday, May 14 – Arrive in Tel Aviv and travel via bus or Sheirut taxi to the Dan Jerusalem Hotel at Mt. Scopus. Opening dinner at the hotel.

Wednesday, May 15 through Friday, May 17 – Conference and tours, including Yad Vashem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, Ramallah and Jericho.

Saturday, May 1810th Anniversary of the Jerusalem Declaration with a peace walk through the old city and visits to holy sites, including the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Via Dolorosa. Commemorative banquet in the evening to celebrate the MEPI interfaith peace movement.

Sunday, May 19 – Departures.

The History of the May 2003 Jerusalem Declaration

The Middle East Peace Initiative, a key strategic project of UPF, was launched in 2003 as a Track 2 diplomacy effort to bring a wide range of religious perspectives into the search for peace.

Shelly Elkayam, poetess and researcher at Göttingen University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, credits the MEPI pilgrimages with changing the hearts and minds of many in the region over a two-year period. She argues in her paper, “A Religious Model in Action: Sun Myung Moon and the Middle East Peace Initiative, 2003 to 2005” that “these MEPI pilgrimages were an educational tool designed by a religious actor as a global model of peace building [and] represented a new model of interfaith activism carried out in a ferocious war zone and was meant to bring the faiths together and serve the cause of world peace.”

MEPI participants visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, other Jewish sites and were one of the first non-Muslim organizations to be invited to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on The Holy Mount, which had been closed to non-Muslims since the Second Intifada. Then there was a reconciliation ceremony held together with Rabbis, Imams and Pastors where the Jerusalem Declaration was signed on May 18th 2003, “With that declaration, each major group acknowledged its historical mistakes and repented for them and agreed to work together to realize peace and harmony,” (Rev. Philip Schanker).

Robin Marsh

Secretary General

Universal Peace Federation (UPF) – UK

Mobile: 07956210768   Office: 02072620985

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

UPF-UK Latest Newsletter

UPF World Summit 2013 ‘Peace, Security and Human Development’

United Nations International Family Day May 16th, 6:30 p.m. at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

(RSVP for more info to

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